Sweethearts and The Appeal

6. Sweethearts, Sara Zarr (Little, Brown, April 2008).  I am finding it very hard to sum this book up into a word or even a phrase.  It’s not really like anything I’ve read before.  It is very quiet.  I think the thing I like best about it is that it is the right balance of plot and storytelling, if that makes sense.  In other words, there is a clear plot, which is well-paced and so on.  But it’s also set in a world that has more going on that just the plot, which is a hard trick to pull off.  I felt engrossed in the plot, and a huge part of that is that the book was so much more than its plot.  The basic plot, since I’ve just used the word a couple dozen times, is that the main character Jenna’s life goes out of whack when her childhood best friend returns–mainly because she is now popular, skinny, and adored, whereas when she and Cameron were friends she was outcast, fat, and picked on.  She has a weird connection with him, which is made especially strong due to a traumatic event, and when he returns she can’t hide who she feels she really is any longer.  I would recommend this to people who like YA and want to read something different than the “girl lands in wacky situation X and with help of wacky friends and even some support from lame-o weirdy parents overcomes and learns lesson Y” stuff that is all over the place.

7. The Appeal, John Grisham (Doubleday, 2008).  Grisham’s latest.  This book was exactly what I thought it would be in every way, except that: 1. Grisham is more liberal than I would have thought and 2. he doesn’t go for the cheap happy ending, which pleasantly surprised me.


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